One journalist's 5 holiday wishes for the media

I wish I could convince every news editor in this country to report on people who are hurt and impacted by hate rather than to assign stories about the people who hate, over and over again. Maybe we could show rather than tell the haters how ethnic, religious, gender and sexual diversity makes America better and stronger.

I wish I could convince every journalist that it is far more interesting to read about the impact of the recently passed tax bill on average families instead of focusing on the powerful political winners, losers and their monied donors. Profiling different families who want only to give their children the best education possible would make a far better story than telling readers and listeners for the umpteenth time what Democratic leaders say versus what Republican leaders say. And journalists then showing us all how the new tax legislation will impact each one of those families, well, that would be the best gift of all.

I wish I could convince journalists that our job is to cut through the confusion, not add to it. And get them to understand that what powerful politicians do inside their bubble only matters because of the way their actions affect the world outside of that bubble. In other words, less of the distraction by Washington operatives and more show-and-tell about how pending laws could help or hurt average Americans by talking with average Americans. Less of this, and more like this.

I wish I could convince newsrooms that our mission is about informing everyday people rather than getting caught in the middle of who’s up and who’s down in Washington, D.C. I wish I could convince them that it's about public service, not gamesmanship. For an example of what I mean, please see ProPublica’s special report on why Houston wasn’t ready for a major hurricane days before one actually hit. Imagine if all of Houston’s residents had seen that report, and been empowered to hold lawmakers accountable before Hurricane Harvey did the accounting for them.

I wish I could convince everyone in news media that this is how we can deserve the public's trust again, and keep it. This is my wish for journalism.

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    Tracie Powell

    Tracie Powell is a senior fellow for Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder-philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that Americans come first in our democracy. Tracie is also founder of AllDigitocracy which focuses on media and its impact on diverse communities. 


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